Ian is best known in climbing circles as one of only two Canadians to be awarded the Piolets D’or, for his first ascent of K6 West (7000m) in Pakistan. Born and raised in the flatlands of Manitoba, Ian moved to Chamonix France at the age of 17. After studying economics and philosophy at Ottawa University and McGill University, where he carefully avoided receiving a degree, he moved to western Canada and lived in Nelson and Canmore before settling in Golden, B.C.
100 day winters of waterfall ice climbing gave way to alpine first ascents in the Rockies. With this experience he travelled further afield and undertook expeditions to the Coast Range, Patagonia, Denali, to the Khumbu area of Nepal, and 3 trips to the Pakistani Karakoram. In 2016 Ian began the process of gaining ACMG certification so that he can share his experience gained over 25 years, and his love of the mountains.
An August in the Alpine: First Ascent Traverses of Waddington and the North Twin
In August 2019, Ian Welsted and his accomplished Scottish partner Simon Richardson Mount Waddington, establishing a new route on the upper mountain. The new route, The Epaulette Ridge, had them on BC’s highest mountain for five days. Later in the month Ian completed another long-contemplated route, the complete north ridge of North Twin, another 5 day outing. These two traverses, in the two main ranges of western Canada, made for a full summer of alpine climbing, which Ian is eager to share with the VIMFF festival goers.